4 minute read
The story of Topgolf Glasgow: bringing them home
17 Feb 2023
Bringing Topgolf to Scotland – the home of golf – for the first time has been an incredible journey with many challenges. We wanted to share the construction story of Topgolf and some of the lessons we learned along the way from our first meeting with Topgolf over five years ago until the opening last December.
Topgolf Glasgow is strategically located at Ashfield Land’s Two 74 site by Junction 2 of the M74 in Rutherglen, Glasgow. It’s part of Clyde Gateway, Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration programme.
From day one, it was clear that our vision to do something special on the site aligned with that of Topgolf, which allowed us to build on the sporting legacy of the Glasgow Commonwealth games and nearby Celtic FC stadium, as well as generate significant local employment opportunities. This complementary concept was, from very early stages, warmly received by the local community, South Lanarkshire Council and Clyde Gateway.
To really get to know the Topgolf brand, we wanted to see it up close in all its glory, which was a great excuse for an Ashfield Land tour of US facilities in Dallas and Tucson. It was fantastic to witness first hand how Topgolf operates in its domestic market and to study the facilities in detail, and of course we made sure to spend some time on the range and were instantly hooked!
Navigating the nuances between operations in the US and UK was a learning experience. There are simple things like overcoming the use of imperial measuring and more complex areas like the different fire safety regulations, thermal and environmental standards, and even down to WC provision – all of which impacted the layout and footprint of what we were delivering in Glasgow. It was an invaluable visit and shaped a lot of what we did at Two 74.
Construction and specialised fit-out
Topgolf has an ever evolving programme of advancement, tweaking layouts and provision based on customer needs, human psychology and ergonomics, which made the construction process a lot more interesting than a typical project, and put our problem-solving to the test.
During the detailed design and construction phase, we managed to save over 16 weeks to the programme by exploring creative ways to be more efficient in construction and delivery. This involved our design team and Topgolf’s specialist contractors working in tandem to make things as efficient as possible – ranging from installing several hundred miles of specialist cabling at the same time as delivering commercial kitchens and a separate conference facility. This time-saver was hugely appreciated.
Challenges – micro to macro
The location of the site beside the M74 motorway and the River Clyde presented various challenges, as did its various former industrial uses. To name a few, we relocated and diverted a major pumped foul drainage system serving several thousand homes and businesses; encountered and removed invasive species; managed poor quality ground conditions and potentially contaminated material; and resolved a number of flooding and drainage issues. All risks were managed effectively by a dependable team and good cross-working.
Macro level issues also affected our construction programme and supply chains. Covid, Brexit, the Ever Given container fiasco in the Suez canal, the war in Ukraine, and an unstable Government impacted labour, inflation and materials. While we were able to ride through this, many projects in the UK cannot say the same.
One of the most significant challenges to manage was around fencing. The driving range has three tiers which required fencing of 52m. The close proximity of the fencing to high voltage pylons serving tens of thousands of people around Scotland meant installation was a risk. After extensive negotiations, we found a solution with a specialist contractor fabricating the fencing and designing a bespoke netting system which drops in adverse weather conditions. This was no mean feat and we are now the proud record holders of the tallest fencing in the UK!
The crux of the success of this project can be summarised by three simple words: communication, trust and teamwork.
This complex project involved a long list of partners, stakeholders and supporters from South Lanarkshire Council and Clyde Gateway to the many design team members, contractors and subcontractors, lawyers, utilities providers and neighbours. Everyone bought in to the project ethos and ensured an open and honest dialogue with transparency, integrity and trust.
Without this, it wouldn’t have been possible to deliver such a fantastic venue and bring Topgolf back to the home of golf in Scotland.
We have gained a wealth of experience from delivering this unique and brilliant facility and working with our US colleagues at Topgolf. I look forward to seeing Topgolf Glasgow flourish and I’ve no doubt Topgolf will have a long success in the UK for years to come.
Paul Jagroop, Construction Director at Ashfield Land